I still meet executives who're proud of deals where they or their company has had a significant win on the expense of the other party

While this is good for the winning part initially, both parties will lose out going forward as I don't see any successful long-lasting relationships where one part is benefiting significantly more than the other

If not everybody's winning, everybody's losing

If you want to win in business, be it customer acquisition, management of employees or procurement negotiations, all parties has to register a 'win' - at least for relationships with repeat interactions (as opposed to one-off deals)

This 'win' can be monetary, emotional or more intangible, but it has to be there for the relation to last - if not, the losing party is bound to walk away from the deal / partnership as soon as possible, leaving all parties with a longer-term loss

I'm not indicating that we should stop negotiating and just accept whatever is offered; I'm suggesting that you still do your best in maximising the value for you or your company, but that you do it in a way where the other parties still feels there's value left for them

Think value-chain, holistic, broad - just think

When entering - or wanting to enter - new business relationships (or seeking to strengthen existing ones) you should spend some time considering the value-chain / revenue drivers / cost models etc. of the parties you're talking to

Think this all the way out (the value chain from supplies of raw material to customer service) and take it one step further to include the value chain of the suppliers as well as the customers of your partner

Based on this you can begin to map your assumptions on where they create value and how your proposition can genuinely help them create more value

It's not new thinking, but surprisingly few follow this line of thought, so here is it yet again :)

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